DMC prevails in Wayne State suit over supervision of med students at Children's Hospital

Wayne State University medical students will not be supervised by the university's  pediatric faculty if they do their clinical rotation at Children's Hospital of Michigan, following a court ruling issued this week.

Wayne State officials said they are considering an appeal over the unusual situation. 

Detroit Medical Center's Children's Hospital of Michigan signage in Detroit on Mar. 31, 2020.

The ruling comes after University Pediatricians, WSU's pediatric physician group, broke away from the university and aligned with Central Michigan University in 2019. In April, the Detroit Medical Center announced it had an exclusive contract with University Pediatricians to practice at Children's Hospital of Michigan, which is part of the DMC.

Wayne State has been working to staff its own pediatric physician group, Wayne Pediatrics, to teach medical students and supervise them during clinical rotations at Children's Hospital of Michigan — but the DMC has said it will not allow Wayne State's pediatric group to practice at Children's Hospital, citing its contractual obligation to University Pediatricians.

Wayne State sued the DMC in June, arguing that it "had a contractual right to have physicians of its choice admit patients and teach its medical students at Children's Hospital," according to court records. 

But Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Brian Sullivan ruled against the university this week, saying that while Wayne State agreed to allow as many as 300 students to be trained at Children's, the DMC never agreed to let Wayne State choose which physicians will teach them. 

"The agreement provides in part that the program is available at DMC; that it is run by DMC; the physician choice is made by DMC; and that is consistent with DMC running the hospital," Sullivan concluded, in part.

"Nothing in the contracts suggests DMC intended to surrender such authority to WSU." 

University spokesman Matt Lockwood said while medical students do clinical rotations in pediatrics at other venues such as Henry Ford Health System, Ascension Michigan hospitals and private pediatric offices, the "vast majority" complete that part of their training at Children's. 

"We fully expect that our students will continue to receive part of their pediatric education at Children’s," he added, when asked if future Wayne State medical students will be trained at the DMC hospital.